Wednesday, January 09, 2008

 

Bill Tieleman today: NDP alleges Basi-Virk trial will be delayed ...

by BC Liberal government blocking disclosure of evidence sought by defence

NDP says provincial government refusing to cooperate in disclosing evidence in BC Legislature raid case

The B.C. New Democratic Party opposition is alleging the B.C. Liberal government is forcing the delay of a March trial for two former ministerial aides facing breach of trust charges by refusing to disclose evidence requested by the defendants’ lawyers.

Nanaimo NDP MLA Leonard Krog charged Wednesday the government is wrongly claiming solicitor-client privilege for political reasons over documents related to the $1 billion privatization of BC Rail.

David Basi and Bob Virk are charged with giving confidential government documents to a lobbyist representing one of the bidders.

“I can’t imagine any harm being done to anyone by the disclosure of business advice given to the provincial government except for the political harm that would fall on Gordon Campbell,” Krog said in an interview. “This has all the appearance of political whitewash.”

Campbell’s Press Secretary Mike Morton said Wednesday the premier has declined comment on any matters regarding the case while it is before the court.

The defence seeks 17 documents which came from the legal firm hired by the government to work on the B.C. Rail deal, saying they are only business advice and should not be classified as solicitor-client privilege.

Justice Elizabeth Bennett adjourned Wednesday’s B.C. Supreme Court pre-trial hearing until January 14 shortly after it began.

Krog said the government should be held responsible if the trial is delayed - it is scheduled to begin March 17 after several delays. The B.C. Legislature was raided by police investigating the case on December 28, 2003.

“The problem is clearly on the government side where they are attempting to keep documents from the defence,” said Krog, who is a lawyer and NDP critic for the Attorney-General’s ministry.

Krog said the premier should not allow documents to be withheld on the basis of solicitor-client privilege because of the importance of the case.

“This was not a grow-op raid – this was a raid on the offices of cabinet ministers. This is not an ordinary prosecution and if there was ever a case where public interest trumps solicitor-client privilege, this is it,” Krog said. “And if this is the premier’s idea of cooperation, I’d hate to see him if he was resisting.”

“This wasn’t Gordon Campbell’s railway – it was our railway and the government broke a specific election promise and has no right now to say ‘It’s secret and none of your business’,” he added.

The court pre-trial hearing was adjourned to give the defence additional time to review materials presented to them by George Copley, the government’s lawyer, regarding the solicitor-client privilege issue.


Comments:
Hi Mary

I was going to keep this to myself until I read this article.
I had e-mailed my MLA asking about the FOI that Bill Tieleman requested and if he could find out why a public servants notes could be edited under FOI because after all we as taxpayers pay for his services. The e-mail response I got was to assure me that the NDP opposition is well aware of the aspects of this case and will be asking a lot of questions at the spring session. I can only hope that mine is one of them. And it was very heartening to see Leonard Krog was there today and to here his opinions. His statement that "This wasn't Gordon Campbell's railway-it was our railway" did a lot to boost my resolve.
 
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gary e,

Look at this message just in from our sharp-eyed researcher, Lynx.

Lynx writes: Mary,

You and gary e gotta read this. It's from hansard, March 29, 2004, afternoon sitting. It's with MacPhail questioning Coleman about the death of Frank Paul but the discussion soon veers into questions about Coleman's powers through OIC's, as to who gave him these powers.

MacPhail then begins a series of questions about what she calls the "secret appointment" of Berardino in early December.

http://www.leg.bc.ca/hansard/37th5th/h40329p.htm#9865

From line 1920 to the end of the page is very interesting - (Coleman constantly tries to skirt the issue of the exact date of the appointment of Berardino).

__________________________________

gary, Have a look and tell us what you think of Coleman's explanation.

Looks to me as if Bill Berardino was holding the door open for the police raid on 28 Dec 2003.

And Coleman and Richmond had the coffee and snacks ready.

There's at least 3 weeks when it was known that the police raid was coming (between early December and 28 December) and it's impossible to believe that such a get-out-of-jail-free opportunity passed by without a flicker in the eyes of the gang who knew they were about to be investigated.

Your turn. OK?

And thanks, Lynx.


_________________________________
 
gary e--

The 'redaction' story appears to be developing over at my place....

RossK

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Neither Bill Tielman nor Leonard Krog were present at the Wednesday session. Robin Mathews was in attendance, however.
 
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Thanks, Anon 10:58, that was my fault and I've corrected the Bill Tieleman headline. I appreciate your help.

I hope you liked Robin Mathews' report. Wicked sense of humour, that clever man.

And: do you know what a "snailski" is?


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"do you know what a "snailski" is?"

The pundits that we are graced with in British Columbia are so exceptional that the English language cannot accommodate their sheer wisdom and creativity. Therefore it becomes necessary for them to create new words out of whole cloth, instead of limiting their "creative" talents to merely creating "facts."

You don't want to be on snail skis this winter, as the avalanches apparently are traveling quite a bit faster and quite frequently.
 
Hi Mary

Sorry for the delay in responding. Seems when we retire we get busier.
I had read that part of Hansard some time ago but sort of skimmed overit.Some questions I was going to try to have answers for were regarding the timeline of Morrisson (the first police complaint commissioner) resigning,how long was Casson in the interim and try to find more facts in Ryenveld (?) asking for a public hearing.

When MacPhail starts to ask about the raid it almost appears that Coleman is in a panic trying to prevent her from giving details . Although they don't print what is said in the background you can see that MacPhail is promising him not to give out details. This exchange got me to thinking. Does Joy know more than we are led to beleive. But then I thought of course not he was just amking sure she didn't really mention the raid nor what we already knew.
Coleman very obviously beats around the bush on the appointment of Berardino. In fact he never gives Joy a straight answer. He just promises to get back to her. In fact he appeared to be very ill prepared in that meeting. Either that or he was "stonewalling". He also didn't appear to know what his job was. He would give one explanation then backtrack a bit then try to explain again. Whaen I was workin, if I didn't know my job description, I would be deemed as not knowing my job and would most certainly been demoted if not fired.
Then on the Raids he says "I would be concernedfrankly, if people felt they had to advise me when a special prosecutor was being appointed and that I should have that persons' name or have any discussion with them. Under no circumstance would I do that, simplybecause that is the reason to insulate a case with the special prosecutor- so that no minister of the Crown has any input into the preparation of the case.

Now, I ask you. Is that not what the government is doing right now? They have their own lawyer in there arguing for secrets to be kept. Kind of makes Colemans remarks look again like a person doesn't know what he is talking about.
Then on the matter of the police he says, "They have not been breifing me relative to this (The Legislature Raids) investigation. They have said on a number of occasions in other meetings that they would hope as much information as possible would soon be made public. It is their wish to have that happen, and of course, that is not within their capability. That's within the decision of the courts."
So there you have it. The top cop (Solicitor General) has been asked by the police to make as much information available to us as possible and he says its not up to the police to do that. Is he now vetting all information from the investigators an witholding info from us? The police certainly did not want this to happen. Or is someone else doing the witholding.
He most definately laid that burden on the courts. And as far as I know Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett is "the courts" in this case and she did state in court that "the public interest is paramount"
As far as the get out of jail free card goes Mary. Yes there was definately a time when this could have happened and it was most probably in the first 28 days of December 2003. But right after that there was too much to the investigation. I honestly think they made a conscious decision to proceed and then would try to derail the case. Please excuse the pun.
 
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